There’s certainly been no shortage of names mentioned as possible replacements for Mack Brown at Texas, and depending on who you ask, everyone seems to have a theory as to which direction the Longhorns will ultimately go.
HookEm247 reports that Texas is actively considering four candidates: Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher, Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, Ohio State’s Urban Meyer and the 49ers’ Jim Harbaugh.
While it may seem odd to think the Longhorn brass will be willing to wait on two coaches in Fisher and Malzahn who have games on Jan. 7 and Harbaugh, whose team could make a deep run in the NFL playoffs, it’s important to remember that Monday marked the opening of a recruiting dead period that runs until the end of the AFCA Convention on Jan. 15.
Still, it’s difficult to imagine a coach winning the national title and being announced as the head coach of another college team a few days later.
Both Malzahn and LSU’s Les Miles have shot down Texas rumors over the past 24 hours.
“I’m a good fit for the Auburn Tigers, that’s why I signed the contract the day before the SEC championship,” Malzahn told AuburnUndercover. “Like I said before I’m tickled to death to be here.”
The first-year Auburn coach signed a letter of agreement on a six-year contract extension Dec. 6 that will pay him $3.85 million in 2014 with a $250,000 raise each year.
Miles told The Advocate that he doesn’t want to hear his name mentioned with the Texas job.
“Oh please,” he said. “Oh please. Let’s not kick my name around.”
As far Harbaugh, NFL sources seem to think the possibility of him leaving the pros for a college job is a pipe dream. The same goes for Steelers coach Mike Tomlin.
Michael Silver reported Sunday on NFL Network’s “NFL GameDay Morning” that Harbaugh has told his superiors with the San Francisco 49ers that he’s staying with the 49ers.
Another source apparently told NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport that Rapoport has a better chance of coaching Texas next year than Harbaough. (As NFL.com points out, Rapoport doesn’t know what a zone defense is.)
A source close to Tomlin, meanwhile, told Rapoport that that Tomlin’s inclusion on the list is “absurd.”
Tomlin’s name occasionally has been rumored for college jobs, but there has been no indication that he wants to move on from his job with Pittsburgh, and he is expected to return as the Steelers coach next season.
Sources continue to to tell us not to completely rule out Nick Saban, even though he seemingly ruled himself out Sunday.
“I knew that if Mack stepped down, there would probably be an opportunity, but it wasn’t something I was interested in doing, not at this stage in my career,” Saban said.
We’d be surprised to see Saban make a jump now – especially after Sunday’s statement. Still, don’t think for a second that Texas has given up, and you can expect them to offer Saban a ton of money – even more than the $7.5 million he’s rumored to have agreed to at Alabama.
We wouldn’t rule it out completely, but we believe it to be highly unlikely he’d leave, at least at this point. But remember, this is the same guy who as the Dolphins coach said, “I’m not going to be the Alabama coach.”
Other names floating around include Mike Gundy and Chip Kelly. Both have either looming (Gundy) or past (Kelly) NCAA issues.
Kelly is on the verge of winning the NFC East with the Eagles and shot down reports linking him to the job. “I haven’t to talked to anybody,” he said Monday. “It’s just speculation. I havent spoken to anybody, nor will I speak to anybody.”
All sorts of names like Art Briles and David Shaw are also making the rounds. The bottom line is it’s early. And nobody knows where this search ends up.
If it drags into January, you can probably assume it’s one of the coaches in the BCS National Championship Game or an NFL guy.
The only other reason would be incompetence. And who could possibly think that that anyone at Texas was incompetent after the past several days?
Photo: Steve Cannon, AP